The Zschaepe trial is interesting because this female terrorist is trying to play the “housekeeper” card: She didn’t know what the male terrorists were up to, she just did the domestic chores and generally played the role of mushroom.
As with Islamist terrorists, this is complete and utter bullshit.These women know exactly what’s going on in their home and often, as in this case, openly participate.
In fact, Zschaepe wasn’t the mushroom, it seems, but the opposite: She played the radicalizer, writing the group’s manifestos and SOP as the prosecution’s forensic team demonstrated today by means of linguistic analysis. No mushroom she, although not a particularly bright little bunny either.
Interesting thing about linguistic analysis: A unique typing characteristic, that of placing extra spaces around brackets, was introduced into evidence. This is especially noteworthy because part of her defense rested on the fact the documents were not handwritten but typed, and therefore anyone could have typed them into her computer. So just because you aren’t hand-writing your documents, doesn’t mean the forensic team can’t pin you.
(On a side note, the prosecution introduced numerous other characteristics of her writing composition style today. I just found her boyfriend’s bracket-spacing habit particuarly curious.)
Ultimately, though, her defense – as the Islamist female defense – rests on the “mousy housewife” stereotype. While it’s true that, unfortunately, some male operatives (and judges) still don’t like to believe a woman is involved in crime and/or terrorism directly, let alone as a perpetrator or ringleader; and especially that Western society generally tends to underplay the role of woman in crime; the fact is that woman are equal on the dark side, too.
If only certain agencies would just accept this and implement equality on the light side, too, we’d be a lot further ahead in this fight. I saw first-hand how that bias can get our people killed as one of the first Marine women to be out in Anbar interacting with the local women (This was a full two years before Lioness started.)
And yet a decade later I still see it in so many ways, like profiling that is slanted toward men; it’s amazing to me that the White Widow, for example, was such a surprise to some knowledgeable people. After all, we’ve seen not only recent examples like the Dutch “hijab courier”, but female terrorism almost since the first “propaganda of the deed”. It was especially driven home to me this week as I was reading about a few notable female operatives in the Resistance. Several of them were quoted as saying, in essence, no-one suspected a pretty little thing, especially a pretty little thing in an apron.
That was 70 years ago and some otherwise very clever white-hats *still* haven’t figured this out!? Let alone put it into practise, oi.
Zaschaepe’s playing up that stereotype in her legal defense is just another example of the terrorist’s moral cowardice. But why not? Female terrorists will continue to take advantage of that both in ops and (if caught) in defense, largely because it just might work. Why? Despite decades of evidence to the contrary in modern intelligence operations, it’s still considered plausible.
Worse, it’s a bias that the good guys are handing to them. We’re giving them a gift (a known and persistent blindspot) to add to their arsenal. As sometimes happens, a lot of very intelligent people working in a field called Intelligence *still* face some pretty enormous amounts of stupidity. The “but she’s a girl” excuse should be laughed right out of the briefing room, or courtroom, but it isn’t. But it should be, and must be, if we’re planning to improve our game.
Happily, it does not work with these investigators, these prosecutors, nor in this particular courtroom. A glimmer of progress?
Then again, Germany had the Baader-Meinhof trials already, so they’ve learnt. A few other countries have. But it seems this is a lesson learned that other agencies will insist on learning for themselves anyway. Sigh.
(Today’s trial coverage was drawn from this source, in German, http://mobil.stern.de/politik/deutschland/nsu-morde-zschaepes-grosser-fehler-2070848.html?mobil=1)